"It's not that I'm so smart. It's that I stay with problems longer." Albert Einstein.
A few weeks ago I was out having dinner. It was a delightful dinner with great conversation.
The table had beautiful silverware and soft candle lighting. Delicious Mexican food was being served on very apropos plates.
"Guac and chips" were a gourmet option. I just have to laugh - nonetheless, they were delicious.
Not to mention that it also happened to be on the themed "day of the dead," in Mexican culture.
Directly across from us was a group of three people having dinner. There were two adults and one child - the child, a boy, was about 6 - 7 years old.
I happened to look up later in the night, as their server came out with their food and the steam coming from the food and the smell drew my attention. As the server was putting their food out, I noticed an Ipad on the table in front of the child with wired headphones.
Now, before I start to come across judgmental, or maybe I already am, just stay with me for a minute as there are many moments in each of our lives, that if we stop ourselves from going down the judgmental rabbit hole, we could learn many valuable and cross-applicable lessons.
As their server finished laying out their order, the boy continued watching his Ipad and totally in the zone with his headphones and chicken fingers. A part of me was somewhat hoping that he or his adult company would put the Ipad away and savor his meal - (this was the part that might have been judgmental had I not stopped myself and also come back to my meal and girlfriend).
Later that night, once we finished our delicious meal and on our way home, I started to think about the "millenial" generation and how they are categorized as not present, undetermined, easily distracted, lack of commitment, etc....
This made me think about where I might also be allowing such a beautiful and powerful tool, to unconsciously control me and keep me from building and sustaining momentum or establishing deeper connections with others.
Not that long ago, roughly 30 - 40 years ago, in the 80's and 90's, 1G and 2G cellular phones were introduced. Then, in 2000 through 2008, 3G and 4G phones were introduced. A generation that became more and more tech saavy was emerging and one that would also be using the invention of the century, along with the internet, as their first toy.
This was also the first round of parents that would experiment with children and tech and how it would begin to shape their conversations and interactions, and how these children, would then go out into the world to interact, engage, learn and develop.
Now, this conversation could totally go down the rabbit hole of a plethora of other topics, however, the main one I would like to bring to the surface because I believe it underlies and connects a few other topics and points of view, is the one of RESILIENCE and PATIENCE.
I feel that resilience and patience go hand in hand and help to build one another.
When we are distracted and stimulated simultaneously, we are not building the ability to stay focused for long and end up seeking the short term dopamine hits. The access to whatever we want or whatever thought crosses our mind is right in front of us.
Boredom - who needs it when we have a device that is feeding our every immediate need.
Patience - why bother. I can just distract my mind the minute something or someone stops stimulating me.
The responsibility of being entertained is being shifted to the "device" instead of the individual.
As Einstein said, it's not that he was smarter, he just had the resilience and patience, the perseverance to sit with problems longer than most other people.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT???
I believe that in a world that is only going to get faster and more "one - clickable" - a world that is soon approaching 5G and AR/VR - the ability to sit with things longer, to sit with people longer and EXTRACT the valuable pieces of information as a foundation, are going to be what is most important in being able to make better decisions faster because the framework through which we think is not so easily distracted.
We cannot possible learn what really moves an individual or a culture or society, if we cannot ask deeper, thought provoking questions. Of course, we would have to learn to ask these questions and actually learn to have a face to face conversation.
Creativity arises through ones ability to connect the unlikeliest of dots, by having strong foundations, systems and processes that take complex and fast moving concepts, and SLOW THEM DOWN, take them in and simplify.
Resilience is key in this "taking in and slowing down" because most people, have remained so superficial in their learning, that somewhat difficult and complex ideas, cannot hold their attention span for long before they look for the quick, easy, shortcut, hack or trick to instant gratification.
The future is approaching us faster than we ever imagined and at times, it seems that tech is far beyond our own ability to utilize it and optimize it.
With so many distractions, what we seek is an EXPERIENCE and deeper CONNECTIONS with ourselves and with others, to whom we can relate to.
The counterbalance of a fast moving world, one where so much of many people's identities is tied to some external metric or accolade that may not even exist 3 - 5 years from now, is an indication that today, we must go DEEPER within. That the greatest skill one can develop, is how to learn to control our thoughts, emotions and actions, in a place that is pulling and pushing us in diverse directions.
As a human race, we have always wanted to go faster, higher, stronger, bolder, leaner, fitter, wealthier - technology and access to information has facilitated this desire. However, what I hear the most from super successful CEO's, entrepreneurs and elite performing athletes, is that they wish they would have SLOWED DOWN and enjoyed the journey more fully.
Let's create greater levels of consciousness and awareness to how much faster things are moving and wonder that maybe, it's because we have allowed the instant gratification of a device that is so important to our lives and businesses, be what is leading our lives.
Technology is a wonderful resource and tool - don't let the main thing keep from being the main thing - don't blame tech for what is missing, use it instead to keep you aware of where your main focus has been channeled to.